A Diamond’s Eye View of the World

a multi-faceted look at the middle east, and the middle west

Information Freedom, from New TV

Posted by adiamondinsunlight on October 12, 2008

Hello from errand- and laundry-Saturday, which has left me without much energy for a good post. But I would like to share the advertisement below with you. I saw it in the Daily Star online, but I’m guessing from the language that it appeared in the Arabic newspapers as well.

The advertisement is for New TV, an independently owned channel that I would say follows a party line of “afflicting the comfortable” rather than taking sides with either of the major political alignments.

Here it is:

The image is of a New TV check, with an Arabic text violator super-imposed over it. It reads: Freedom of the information is priceless. [I originally translated this as “press”, thinking that al-i3lam was used as a stand in for wasa2l al-i3lam, but it has been suggested to me that New TV was in fact referring to information generally. My error!]

New TV and its owner, Tahsin Khayyat, have been the subject of lawsuits and court cases over the past few years, brought about by various public figures who consider themselves injured parties. The channel has one of the ugliest microphones in Lebanese television, and its production values are not always the highest. But most of the injured are men of power who could stand to be taken down a peg or two for their failings (nepotism, corruption, pandering … the usual political temptations). Their attacks on the channel remind me of the various Arab governments that have thrown Al Jazeera reporters out of their countries for offending the powers-that-be.

Keep on broadcasting, New TV. And keep on reminding the Lebanese public that a free press requires investigative work, and not just the “reportage” of replaying one politician’s press conference after another.

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